NSW Premier proposes ‘roster system’ for schools

Schoolchildren in New South Wales could return to classrooms under a “roster system,” Premier Gladys Berejiklian has said.

Talking at the state’s daily COVID-19 news conference this morning, Ms Berejiklian said NSW was considering a system that would rotate students through face-to-face classes.

Yesterday she said face-to-face teaching would resume in week three of term two, but this morning provided more clarity adding that it would be a “very long time before we get back to normal”.

“We aren’t proposing at this stage full classrooms and every single student going back at the same time,” she said.

Instead, education officials were considering a staggered system whereby only some students at a time would be in the classroom.

“What it does mean is that NSW is considering a roster system to provide at least some aspect of face-to-face (teaching) for each student.”

Ms Berejiklian said the roster system was one option being considered so certain students could go back on particular days.

“Because the alternative is that unfortunately students could face up to a year or longer at home and we don’t think that’s appropriate,” she said.

The Premier said it would take up to a month to prepare the rostering system.

“That gives us time to make sure we have everything in place so that everybody, not just is safe but feels safe in the school environment.”

The first two weeks of term two will continue to see most students taught from home in NSW.

The Federal Government is keen to get in-class schooling back in place sooner rather than later.

Some research has said children have a lower risk of both contracting and transmitting COVID-19 than adults, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison saying yesterday “teachers are more at risk in the staffroom” than they would be in a classroom with children.

However, he has conceded some older and more vulnerable teachers may need to stay away from schools for the time being.